Summer is officially here, and many of us are searching for a vacation that will make the most of these long-awaited relaxing summer days. Have you thought about going on a wellness retreat? Whether you want to recharge your energies, or refresh yourself from a busy, stressful life; it might be the perfect answer for you! I’ve listed 9 reasons why you should consider taking one. Read on to discover the benefits of wellness retreats, and how they can refresh your body-mind-spirit this summer.

What is a wellness retreat?
Retreat, by definition,, means “a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy”. To me, a wellness retreat is about removing yourself from the mad rush of daily life, and letting your mind quiet down from its usual routine. It’s a time to connect with your inner silence and inner peace. A wellness retreat provides a much needed space in our busy lives to finally slow down and connect with ourselves.

What type of wellness retreats are there?
There are many types of wellness retreats out there, ranging from yoga, meditation, detox and spa to spiritual, self-discovery and couple’s retreats. The retreat leader will typically create a program centered around its theme. Spend some time searching, and you’ll find a retreat that speaks to you (more on this in a bit).

9 Benefits of Wellness Retreats

1. Escaping from the city:
Retreats are usually held in a beautiful and serene environment, surrounded by nature. When booking a retreat, make sure it is close to a lake, a mountain, jungle, desert, or organic farm land. This will allow yourself to take in the picturesque scenery, hear the chirping birds, stop to smell the flowers and see the clear blue skies. 

2. Lots of yoga and exercise:
Wellness retreats provide plenty of gentle exercise to stretch our bodies. If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t worry: most yoga classes are designed to fit all levels at retreats. Yoga has many forms and shapes ranging from more physical ashtanga to the more spiritual kundalini. There’s even more daring and artistic ones such as aerial yoga. Whatever the type work gently on all levels of your body-mind-spirit. Before you go, make sure to read upon the type of yoga you’ll be practicing. 

3. Daily meditation techniques:
Did you know the word “Meditation” is derived from the same word as “Medicine”? Meditation has many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, helping to balance emotions, and so on. Meditation techniques are usually incorporated into most wellness retreats to help clear the mind and to refresh your energies. Some techniques include vipassana, transcendental, mantra meditations, chakra (energy) practice and guided hypnosis. I’ve learned a new meditation technique at every retreat I’ve been to, so even if you meditate regularly, you’re bound to learn something new. 

4. Healthy nutritious meals:
Many retreats have developed menus that include organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, even juicing options. I have once participated in a high vibe juicing 3-day retreat and my body felt wonderful afterwards. The taste is always incredible and the food is very nourishing. At most retreats, you can ask for the recipes, or take part in a healthy cooking class. This gets you in the habit of preparing your own healthy food at home after the retreat. 

5. You’ll get pampered:
If it’s offered, I recommend booking a healing treatment while on a retreat. Massage therapy, Reiki healing, body talk, body wrap, holistic facial, or nutritional consulting are just a few of the options at a typical retreat. The environment and the retreat experience will be heightened by your healing treatment, so take advantage of it and get blissed.

6. Exciting and resourceful activities:
The retreat is usually formed around a specific theme or a topic of interest. While on retreats, I’ve enjoyed art classes or learnt how to start my own herb garden. You’ll always learn something new about personal development!  

7. Forming bonds with others: 
You’ll be surrounded by wonderful people who likely chose that particular retreat for similar reasons that you did. As the retreat progresses, you’ll notice they’ll become your support group. Your fellow guests will be there to listen, and offer encouragement for whatever life issues you choose to share. You might even form lifelong friendships. 

8. Taking time for yourself:
It’s a good idea to take a technology break and be away from your phone. Get the most out of your retreat, and let your friends, coworkers, employees know that you won’t be available to answer emails/phone calls. Wellness retreats usually offer lots of free time to “retreat” into yourself. Perhaps bring a book that you’ve been wanting to read, or journal to write down every revelation you’ve had, and enjoy just being with yourself. 

9. Your body-mind-spirit knows the best retreat for you :
Have you noticed certain events calling you? Usually retreats find you! When this happens, I recommend to take action and to sign up!

If you feel you need a little help choosing the right retreat, there are wonderful websites available such as Wanderfulsoul a collection of luxury retreats, RetreatsOnline which provides detailed descriptions of the many retreats to choose from. I also find Eventbrite.com and Vitality magazine have great listings of local events and retreats.

​There might even be retreats run by holistic practitioners who you know and trust. Ask your local yoga teacher, life coach, or holistic healer if they plan to organize one.  

​If you want to join our retreats, I organize a couple different ones each year. This year, we’re really looking forward to: 1. a Summer week-end retreat at Crystal beach, ON (July 15-16; 2); 2. Fall Urban retreat in Toronto (Oct 22nd);           3. Caribbean wellness cruise on (March 20th-27, 2018). Feel free to contact me directly!

Above all, have fun and enjoy your retreat experience! You’ll return back to your workplace feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in your energies 🙂

About the author:

Marta Melinda Pap, is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Life Coach and Reiki Master/Teacher who founded Alternative Healer Toronto in 2010 to help Urban Professionals in managing stress better whether home or work related. She has been practicing chakra balancing, life coaching and cleansing of homes and businesses for optimized energies for over 10 years.

The intuitive energy healing she offers, helps her clients increase the ability to release any unwanted habits, improve balance in life, enrich relationships, and help find more joy in life. She has appeared on TV and radio, and teaches her clients seminars on how to heal themselves. Her special office meditation series has been a favorite to many downtown small businesses where stress levels are high and employees look for ways to feel more balanced in their body-mind-spirit. She organizes retreats to enhance her clients’ experience throughout the healing progress.

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